Kelvin Knight: The Importance of a Neat Work Area

There are many reasons to keep a neat work area in healthcare technology management (HTM). A neat work area visually demonstrates your organizational skills, is a better place to work, and—most importantly—projects a good professional image to all who visit your area.

Demonstrating Organizational Skills

HTM professionals are often responsible for keeping up with medical equipment and tracking preventive maintenance and the work history of medical equipment. We are expected to have this information organized and easily accessible. Occasionally, a member of the clinical team may have a need to visit the HTM department to drop off equipment. They may be curious where their transport monitor is, that we have on our “awaiting parts order” shelf, or just want to know where we come from when they call us for service.

A neat and well-organized work area demonstrates an orderly system for repairing medical equipment and is often appreciated by the clinical staff.

A Better Place to Work

Coming in each morning to a neat work area is much more appealing than coming into an area that appears to be in a state of disarray. I feel sure we have all seen work benches covered in paper, printed circuit boards, assorted screws, nuts, bolts, and the case shell of equipment that has been partially disassembled. It can be easy to forget what the work bench looks like when the top is always covered in paperwork, parts, and disassembled equipment. Sometimes the work area around the work bench can be covered with equipment and disorganized as well.

Just a few minutes at the end of the day cleaning up and reorganizing your work area can make you more productive and make a big difference in how you feel about your work area when you come in the next day.

A Good Professional Image

Projecting a good professional image is important in every aspect of the healthcare field. The clinical staff that we support are held to a high standard, and their work areas must be kept neat and clean. HTM professionals can earn a measure of respect from our clinical counterparts by keeping a neat work area as well. In most cases, you will find the top people in any profession to be very neat and organized.

If you want others in the healthcare field to think of you as a top-level HTM professional, you should present yourself that way in your work area.

The best way to do that might be by setting a schedule for cleaning and reorganizing your work area at the end of each day. Keeping a neat, well organized work area will visually demonstrate good organizational skills, improve the work environment, and project a good professional image for you and the HTM profession.

Keeping these things in mind and setting a schedule for cleaning your work area each day may help you as you advance in your HTM career.

Kelvin Knight is director of biomedical engineering at Children’s of Alabama and a member of the Technology Management Council.

4 thoughts on “Kelvin Knight: The Importance of a Neat Work Area

  1. “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Attributed to Albert Einstein.

    Back in the day, a clean desk was considered a sign of slothful laziness. Busy people, and smart people didn’t have time to straighten up. Source:

    The point here is, there are different “bests” for different people and accepting that we are different is more than just ok!

  2. Thank you very much ma for sharing this important piece.
    I head a biomedical engineering section and the Kaizen system have been helpful.
    However, sustaining a neat environment seems to be the next challenge, after creating one.
    How do we as clinical engineers in our section sustain this in a resource limited environment.
    Best regards.

  3. Meh. I just don’t work like that, and trying to make me work like that leaves me in a state of confusion. Do you ever see a picture of Albert Einstein sitting at a clean desk? Nope. Studies have also shown that when in a messier area most people’s brains will work to complete complex tasks in less steps than when sitting at a clean desk. The theory is that in a state of disarray the mind is better at simplifying the tasks being done. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but I am how I am. I would like it if my shopmates would keep their area clean though. Ha.

  4. Those are good Time management, informational and organizational skills to learn and keep.

    All your information brings to mind some things I learned as truisms.

    A cluttered desk shows a cluttered mind. Or they have too much to do.
    A organized desk shows an organized desk mind. But ask a person with a dis-organized desk to hand you a screwdriver and they will reach over pick it up hand it to you with out looking.
    A cleared desk shows a cleared mind, Or they don’t have enough to do.
    Some people can be very task oriented, ie. ” Task is done, move on ” but, ” Clean up is a Task Too ”
    Good time management skills give you time to organize the way someone else does not understand.
    Bad habits are easy to start and keep, good habits are hard work to keep, once you learn bad habits.
    Murphy was an optimist that was able to see reality of things that go wrong.

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